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tv   Reliable Sources  CNN  June 20, 2010 11:00am-12:00pm EDT

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take a look at this. itooks like modern art, doesn't it? abstract, well composed, even beautiful. alas, it is not. it is the oil spill. orange beach, alabama. almost 100 miles from the deepwater horizon rig. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. stay tuned for "reliable stay tuned for "reliable sources." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com it's become sort of a ritual for me. after a big presidential speech i watch barack obama getting panned on fox news, then flip over to msnbc to check out the praise. this time that didn't happen. it was hard to find any pundit, left, right, or center, who liked the president's oval office speech on the oil spill. why was that exactly? were the media expectations too high, and did we all later get distracted by the republican congressman who apologized for his apology to bp? also, linda douglas, the network
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correspondent who became president obama's health care spokeswoman-s returning to journalism. did her white house experience change her view of the press? we'll ask her. we spend so much time analyzing and sometimes psychoanalyzing obama, but few journalists have taken an in-depth look at his life. this morning "new yorker" editor david rumnik on writing the biography of a president who's already written two memoirs himself. plus fact checking and the question no male anchor would have dared ask sarah palin. i'm howard kurtz, and this is "reliable sources." journalists have long been accustomed to reporting on oval office speeches involving military conflicts, iraq, afghanistan, vietnam, and this one certainly sounded like a declaration of war. >> and tonight i've returned from a trip to the gulf coast to speak with you about the battle we're waging. one that we will be fighting for months and even years. to lay out for you what our
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battle plan is going forward. >> i've authorized the deployment of over 17,000 national guard members. >> to activate these troops as soon as possible p. >> and more damage before this siege is done. >> now, liberal commentators have been accused for a long time, going back to the days when he was a rookie senator with a funny name telling the country yes, we can, of being in the tank for barack obama. but there was a moment after this week's speech when i knew that had changed, and it didn't involve just a single word. just a sound. >> what did you think of the speech? >> from the newspapers to the blogs to the television coverage, the 18-minute address was most often described as somewhere between bad and horrible. >> this speech should have been given 50 days ago. this president blew it. >> well, i didn't think it conveyed much. >> it was a bad speech. >> i thought it was a great speech if you've been on another planet for the last 57 days. >> i don't think he was specific enough. >> i'm the only person who loved that speech. >> paul begala liked it. so what does this gusher of
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negative reaction tell us about the president, the oil disaster, and the nature of media criticism? joining us now, chris cillizza, managing editor of postpolitics.com and author of "the fix" blog on washingtonpost.com. amy holmes, co-host of talk radio network's nationally syndicated "america's morning news." and john arivosis the founder and editor of americablog.com. everyone with a pundit license trashed this speech nelz either it was the worst speech of all time or their expectations were out of whack. >> i think it's the expectations being out of whack a little. look, i think it would have been very hard for barack obama to succeed in this speech for one reason. the oil is still coming out of that pipe and there is an image of it on every television screen. if you watch cable television, which i admit i do from time to time. if you watch it day to day, you are going to see that. so you had that on the one hand, which makes it very hard for him to say we're doing everything that we can, we're moving on, everything's going to be fine. the other is look, barack obama has a history of delivering amazing speeches even when expectations are high.
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2004 democratic national convention. 2007 in iowa, the jefferson jackson. they're -- >> but now he's sitting at a desk. >> and now he's the president of the united states. the hope, the change, it's very, very difficult. i'm not sure he could have succeeded. that said, he clearly didn't. >> john arivos sichlt, the denunciations of the speech from your side, the liblg side, were worse than much of what i heard on fox news. >> i just gave the rachel maddow sigh too. first of all, it depends who you talk to on the left. a number of the blogs, for example, were in obama's pocket or whatever you want to call it during the election and then sort of fell out of favor during the last year, just being upset with him on a number of issues. but i think what's interesting is across the board as you said you found people on the left not being happy. i think for the president the problem is speeches aren't enough. and i think during the campaign speeches are enough because per se you can't legislate, you can't do anything at all politically, whereas now the white house still thinks that, a, the president should lay back for a long time when a crisis
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hits or when a big issue hits, give a sort of general policy but lay back, don't say anything, let congress get involved, and then at the end plummet in and do a speech. it doesn't work. and this time i think the people didn't fall for it. >> amy holmes, conservative commentators didn't like the speech much either but i always have the sense that they didn't expect much. >> no. because the conservative commentators are looking at deeds with this president and not words. i think what we're seeing with the media that has been so enthralled by barack obama's oratory, his rhetorical skills, they're now starting to focus on his actual leadership, his ability as an executive, and he has been, it seems, absent. and i would add, chris, that it wasn't just the media that has high expectations for the president. the president set those expectations by locating the speech in the oval office. >> yes. absolutely. but the day after the speech he persuades, shall we say, bp to start this $20 billion escrow fund. >> sure. >> and that didn't seem to get anywhere near as much coverage as the big build-up and the speech itself. >> well, again, becauses as sean
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hannity said this should have been happening 50 days ago. we have reports in foreign governments we're trying offer their help but this administration rebuffed it. conservative commentators myself included every day on the radio have been saying where is the president, why isn't he rallying international resources? >> does it matter what the pundits say as much as it used to? the question was asked in the "new york times." in the age of facebook and twitter and blogs people get their commentary from lots of different sources, not just from you. >> this is like a self-preservation answer, howie. yes, it matters hugely. >> justify your existence. >> i try to every day. i hesitate to disagree with adam in this regard, and i don't actually because the media environment is so fractured that i think if it's a 50-50, 60-40, 70-30 even in terms of the readout of how something big went, i think if you want to go find -- if you're in the 30 and you want to go find the 30 you can go find it. i would say when it's 90-10 and and that was roughly what the
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coverage of the obama speech was, whatever you want to say negative coverage and 10% being positive -- >> not specific enough. >> -- i think it helped drive from the white house on down, it helps drive a storyline, it helps drive a narrative so, there is a level of influence. is it onewhat it once used to be where if the speech was bad and people on tv said it was bad that was it? no, not even close. >> i would actually throw out a name out there of someone who is enormously influential, james carville. and when he had that meltdown, president, where are you, we're dying down here, you saw the white house swing into action. it took that one moment to really i think get this whout focused. >> and we are still -- one thing i would say is we are still a television-centered country in the way we consume and read news. the images, james carville, charlie melancon, all that stuff came to us via tv, the oil spishlgs the ducks -- >> and president obama got in an airplane and went down to louisiana within days of that. >> we may or may not agree with chris on a daily basis but we talk to chris on our blog. i'm being serious. even if we're being critical of
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chris chris has influenced matters because we're still analyzing what he's saying and our readers start to pick that up. >> and the white house seems to care because just this week -- and this is a president who's never been particularly close to journalists. barack obama had over for lunch, and he's been doing more of this lately, some liberal columnists, rachel maddow who we saw earlier sighing on msnbc. jean robinson of the "washington post." gail collins of the "new york times." is that effective? >> yes, because this white house i think during the campaign and certainly once they got into office they had this vuf politics, that they were everything, they didn't need the media, they didn't need the blogs, they only needed their own grassroots and themselves and that's it. >> and now? >> and now they realize what they had wasn't enough, that the president's opinion polls have gone downtown mid 40s now and they're kind of stuck there. >> i think i have to disagree with that. i think we've seen this white house very focused on the media, very focused on the pundit ok rah cy. he constantly says don't listen to the 3u7bd-its. >> he criticizes them, takes whacks at them -- >> we also know that james carville and paul begala to
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coordinate with the white house to attack particular pundits, rush limbaugh, for example. >> i want to get to another story. on thursday you had the big congressional hearings and the purpose was to flog tony hayward, the bp chief executive and then a republican congressman from texas had this to say. and we'll take a look at that as well as the commentary that followed. >> i'm ashamed of what happened in the white house yesterday. i think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what i would characterize as a shakedown. >> these are republicans who hate the federal government so much they prefer to attack the government than blame a universally despised oil company. >> i think that wins the award for the most politically stupid statement of the year and we can retire it right now in june. it's absolutely astonishing. >> talk about a shakedown, barton forced by leadership to retract his first apology.
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>> amy holmes, that was embarrassing, but it became the story even more than all the members of congress beating up on tony hayward. >> well, your colleague here chris cillizza on the fix said joe barton had the worst week in washington. i might actually say tony hayward because he did get sacked in terms of leading and dana millbank said that joe barton said that joe barton had managed to become even more loathsome than tony hayward. i think this is sort of the shiny object thing that happens with journalists where you have this one story but you're looking for the next one. let's face it it was an extraordinary statement. >> he's the top republican on the house energy committee. this is not some errant republican crazy guy. he's the number one republican -- he's the number one republican on these issues in the house, and he's showing that he's for bp and not the public. >> i'm not going to wade into there. though amy is right, i did say he had the worst week in washington. the one thng i would say that i thought was fascinating, if you read the reporting afterward, it said barton as well as other members of the committee were told by leadership don't have any youtube moments, don't -- the democrats are going to try
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to draw you in, don't do it. what does he then do? he comes out -- you can debate whether -- i think john is right, this is a guy who's a prominent figure. >> the guy with the worst week? >> with some exceptions there have been a couple good pieces in the "new york times" on this. did most of the media gloss over the more serious debate here about how aggressive government should be in regulating private corporations, whether it's oil companies or goldman sachs or aig or toyota or massey energy? >> that is a very interesting discussion to you and me and i think it's a very boring discussion for the public. >> why should it -- >> howie, this is the problem we have with the media. not with the media but with reporting in general. it's very hard to do "atlantic" style pieces that go on for 20 pages that you might read on an airplane going across the country. >> we talk about this a lot, which is the inside the beltway media doing the horse race, doing the gaffes, the superficial coverage, joe barton apologizing for his apology. and i think the public actually wants to know what has been the government response in the gulf? this is an ecological economic disaster -- >> they don't think there's been much of a response.
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>> but i'm talking about how far federal regulators should go, whether they've fallen down on the job and that seems to be at the heart of what the country should care about and we in the media should care about. got to get a break. when we come back, saint sarah. is "newsweek" deriding sarah palin with the headline on this cover? and the anchor who dared ask her are they real? ♪ this is onstar. i've received a signal you've been in a crash. i'll contact emergency services.
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the "newsweek" cover this past week has an air of mockery. saint sarah depicted with a halo. the article is more serious, examining sarah palin's impact on conservative christian women. fox's greta van susteren asked the former governor about the piece. >> haven't seen it, but if the title and what i hear about the content is any indication of where "newsweek" is going it's no wonder that "newsweek" is doing so poorly. people are not reading that stuff. it's not real relevant. it's not interesting stuff that they're making up and writing. and that's why they're going down. >> amy holmes, was the "newsweek" story unfair to sarah palin? >> i think it was. and when you contrast that with the halo that was put around barack obama on the cover of "time" magazine, unironically, i might add, and that barack obama's actually been the most explicitly messianic sort of politician, oprah called him "the one." evan thomas said he's sort of a god.
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he gave chris matthews a thrill. what i thought was interesting was in the opening of this lisa miller said sarah palin was oversharing in terms of conveying her personal life, the preg nabsy test. and i think this is actually in the mainstream of feminist confessional. this would be right at home with eve enzler's "vagina monologues" and nobody criticizes that. >> might it be a good idea for the former governor to read the article before she -- >> it might be good for her to do media interviews before she criticizes the media. sarah palin wants to have it both ways. we just spent ten minutes talking about obama getting bad press. i think the media's being quite fair with o'many bah a. sarah palin doesn't do interviews. what do you -- >> with the obvious exception of her paid perch at fox news are you surprised that palin continues to run against the press as opposed to communicating through the press? >> no. only because i'm not surprised really by anything -- to quote an old jane as diction lame music reference album, nothing
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is shocking to me when it comes to sarah palin because if she was running for president or thinking about running for president, yes, i would think not wefrn but she would start to try to break down some of those walls. but i could see her running for president and not breaking down the walls. she doesn't put out press release when's she endorses candidates. she posts on facebook. this is a totally non-conventional politician. i'm not criticizing it -- >> she doesn't have to because she can make news -- >> exactly. >> she may -- >> she can work around the press -- >> just real quickly, though, to john's point, to be totally honest bashing the media is totally fine. i'm used to it. trust me, i have a thick skin. but she admits she didn't read the piece. amy has read piece and takes issue with it. that's totally fine. but don't say they're going down the drain because of articles like this. but it -- the point is -- >> you may not agree with the causal relation -- >> i want to play one more sound bite. we're going to run out of time. this is greta van susteren asking governor palin another kind of question. >> my guess is this next question i'm going to ask you, which is the buzz of the
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internet. it's in mainstream media. i bet it gets more attention than our discussion about energy. so here it is. breast implants. did you have them or not? >> well, first, greta, you know why we love you? because you're not afraid to ask the questions. and i've got to respect you for asking that question because i know that is -- boobgate is all over the internet right now because there are a lot of i guess bored idle bloggers and reporters with nothing else to talk about. no, i have not had implants. >> real quickly shrks greta have asked the question? >> why are you directing the question to me? >> you use the word celebrity, howie, and i think that's the perfect way to describe sarah palin. she's the paris hilton of politics right now. she doesn't do anything but she knows how to get news. but just because you're facebook smart doesn't mean you're oval office smart. >> greta van susteren. it was all over the internet. >> i think only a female anchor could address this question. i think if a male asked sarah -- >> that person would be out of business.
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>> you've got 20 seconds. she opened the door. >> she -- in truth -- >> how? by wearing a white t-shirt? >> no. greta van susteren by asking -- greta van susteren about it. greta van susteren essentially acknowledged this is going to make ratings, this is going to make news so, we're going to ask about it, and it's going to overshadow everything, and she was right. which goes to our point earlier, which is the media does have a bright shiny object tendency to it. obviously. and that's playing the game but sarah palin knows how to play that game. make no mistake about it. >> we are out of time. thanks, everyone. coming up in the second half of "reliable sources," from network news to the obama white house and now back to journalism, linda douglas talks about her experience trying to sell the president's health care bill and her changing view of the press. plus "new yorker" editor david remnick of what it took to research his new biography of the president. and from fox and friends some of the week's biggest media missteps. [ children laughing ] suitcase?
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linda douglas who spent three decades at abc and clbs, was a regular guest on this program before joining barack obama's campaign. she went on to become the white
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house spokeswoman in the more than year-long battle over health care. >> hi. i'm linda douglass. i'm the communications director for the white house office of health reform. >> why did you decide to take on matt drudge and put up that video which calls more attention to the original attack video? >> one of the things we learned during the campaign is if you give people all the facts they become better informed. >> now, douglass is back on our side of the fence, having just been hired as a top executive at "the atlantic." i spoke to her earlier here in the studio. >> linda douglass, welcome. >> thank you for having me. >> i know you're going to "the atlantic" as a vice president but after two years with barack obama did you expect to go back to journalism at all? >> you know, it was unclear. i think what happened here was i certainly was proud of being able to work on the health care initiative, which was an issue that was important to me. but after i left, utterly exhausted from the grueling pace, what i really realized i was interested in is how the media are changing so rapidly today. and i have this very exciting opportunity to be part of a
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venture where they are really strengthening and building an already terrific brand name, making it a lot more current and cutting edge in one of the most fascinating times in journalism i've ever seen. and i thought this was a great opportunity. >> fascinating but also polarizing. david bradley your new boss told me he wants you involved not just in corporate strategy but the editorial product but says there's a blinking red light, his phrase, because of your political experience. >> oh, absolutely. i mean, i'm there to do several things. i'm there to help raise their profile. i'm there to help brainstorm about how to make this terrific news product even better. we're certainly talking about -- we're hiring 30 new journalists, some of the best journalists in the country. we're looking all around the country for some of the best journalists. i'm going to be part of that process. but what i'm not going to be doing is covering health care or the white house, telling reporters how to write their stories or what to cover. that wouldn't be appropriate. >> if you're helping to shape the newsroom, could anybody be skeptical and saying you're bring something kind of p
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pro-obama agenda? >> what i'm doing is bringing decades of experience in journalism and communications to try to rebuild this operation and see where people get their news -- >> you're so experienced you just deflected my question. let me move on. when you were in the middle of this health care fight, which seemed to go on forever, were you disappointed by some of the reporting you saw? >> well, you know, everything has changed so much. i was -- of course i was disappointed. but you're always disappointed no matter which side you're on. and the thing that -- >> what disappointed you? >> well, what i saw on all sides was that reporters are under so much pressure now, you know, to report something every 15, 20 minutes. i mean, when i was a reporter you had a deadline once or twice a day -- >> everything gets thrown up online. >> everything gets thrown up online. everything is news, no matter how small or trivial. any little trivial thing can go on and on and on. but they're under pressure from their editors to churn information out. the government officials, or the campaign officials are trying to tell their own story, and they're under pressure with these waves of news that are pouring over them all the time. and what i think is unfortunate is that it's harder and harder
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for reporters and government officials to trust each other. you don't have the time to develop those relationships anymore. and there's so much pressure and they're so wary of each other, as they should be naturally, that it's very hard for that trust to be built, which occasionally will exist with reporters on beats and government officials. >> some of the reporters i talked to said you were a very aggressive pr person, that you would challenge the premise of stories, if a story was published you didn't like you would call up and complain and they were a little surprised at that given your long journalist im experience. >> i was advocating for the health care initiative and i was very critical of stories that were not accurate. there were also stories which were written which were not favorable to the administration and i would open up the paper and say that's a good story, he's got it right. it just depends on how you do your job. and i certainly try to do every job i do as well as i can. >> the stories that were not accurate, were you -- were they unfair? did you feel like the white house and the administration were given a fair chance to comment? what most bothered you about some of these pieces? >> you know, only if there was a
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factual inaccuracy or someone had not called to try to get a response, that would be the kind of thing to provoke a reaction. and certainly as a reporter myself, a long ago reporter myself because i haven't been a reporter for several years, but somebody who's involved in media, you always want to have the highest possible standards, and i think most reporters actually really do. i actually found that the bulk of the reporting that i saw over the last couple of years was very good and reporters worked very hard to get it right, they work very hard to get information out of people who may not be ready to give them information. it's a tough job. >> i saw you in some contentious interviews on fox news. did you think that fox overall was fair in the way it covered the health care plan? >> well, you know, they were, as you say, contentious. it certainly, if you're talking to a journalist who has a point of view, and there are many, many journalists out there on both sides who bring their points of view to their reporting, those types of interviews get combative -- >> is that a bad thing in your point of view? >> i think the rise of spaen a
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very interesting thing. i mean, there's opinion where the facts are shaped to produce a certain outcome, and there's reported opinion. i'm thinking, for example, of ezra klein is one of the reported opinion columnists who got a lot of reading during the health care -- >> blogger at the "washington post." >> blogger at the "washington post." and he's got this feature called "wonk room" which i think is interesting. these reported opinion columns do provide the other side, you know, in many cases and give you a chance to kind of weigh the whole thing. and it seems that some opinion people are gravitating toward because they want to find somebody they agree with, sometimes people are going toward opinion because they want transparency. and i think that's kind of an interesting phenomenon. >> put your cards on the table. the breakdown of trust you talked about between administration officials and journalists, do you think that's gone forever? does this reflect a new speeded up, polarized environment in which we all live now, the culture? >> just by virtue of people getting to know each other i think that reporters and government officials, those who really have been doing their jobs for a while, have respect for what each other is doing.
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everybody's trying to serve the public here. reporters are trying to inform the public. people who work in government are trying to serve the public with policies they think will be helpful. so hopefully this red hot environment now will still make it possible for sources to be developed and sources where the trust can go both ways, and it's a hard thing right now. >> i've got a half minute. with what you learned in the health care fight and what you learned in the presidential campaign, will that now change your approach to journalism? >> well, that's an interesting question. i think i've seen -- certainly i've seen it from both sides. i don't know if it really changes my view of how it operates. in the end it's an adversarial relationship, always has been, always will be. people are trying to get information. and the people with the information may not be ready to give it to them. i think reporters have to work very, very hard not to take handouts from government, to really try to, you know, get through and get the information. and that's what a good news organization does. and you know, i absolutely respect that. and i expect that that's what "atlantic" media's going to be
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doing. >> welcome back to the other side. linda douglass, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> up next "new yorker's" david remnick on writing the biography of a president who's already written his life story, and why his weekly magazine is thriving in tough times. nge that idea. they are recognized as, simply, the best. great skincare. great protection. olay. cone on, kiddo, let's go. hold on a second... come on up here, where your brothers sit.
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barack obama must be the most written about person on the planet. his every move chronicled by newspapers, television, websites, blogs, youtube, and twitter. and the 44th president is the subject of and cooperating with a growing number of books. that presented a challenge for his newest biographer, pulitzer prize-winning author david remnick. he's been the editor of "the new yorker" for a dozen years, and his new book is called "the bridge:spt life and rise of barack obama." he joins me now from new york. david remnick, welcome. >> hi, howie. >> you set out to do the biography of a president who's a pretty good writer and who's already written two memoirs, especially the evocative tale of growing up, "dreams from my father." how do you deal with that when your subject has gotten there first? >> well, the same way a biographer did of benjamin franklin who wrote the autobiography of benjamin franklin then along come many scholarly biographers. look, memoir is a story you tell about yourself, and the way you tell about yourself is only reliable through one lens, and a
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scholar and a journalist does something entirely different. and in obama's own book there's no politics. there's no congressional race. there's no getting started in politics. there's no senate race and running for president. it's just -- there's a search for identity, and it's a moving book, but it's a book that ends before politics, before public life. so it's an entirely different thing. >> and beyond that you concluded that not everything in his first book is literally true. >> yeah, you don't think in a mend ashs w mendacious way but in the way of memoir. he announces his intentions, i'm going to put together certain characters, i'm going to compress certain events, i'm going to do what memoir writers do. but that's not a freedom that's given to a journalist or a scholar. you have an entirely different operation. >> to some extent obama was involved in myth making about himself. >> well, i think politicians are involved in myth making. and to some extent all memoir writers are involved in a literary way and engaged in myth
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make. even james thurber was involved in a certain kind of myth making. memoir writers to an enormous degree do that. >> almost everyone in your book, not everyone but almost everyone is on the record. how did you do that in an age when particularly in washington there seems to be almost a genetic predisposition to speaking on background? >> asking and insisting. asking and insisting over and over and over again. and look, i don't want to take anything away from journalists who do it the other way. i work with some of them, and they're dealing with entirely different kinds of material. when bob woodward or seymour hersh go into the weeds of background and off the record, they do it purposefully and they do it for a reason, and the -- what's yielded there is extremely important and very valuable. i think, though, when i'm talking for hours and hours with, say, obama's mentor in community organizing the business of going off the record is fruitless and it invites
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something that i don't want. >> you don't think other journalists are too promiscuous in offering the cloak of anonymity? >> i think it's case by case and if it's done too automatically it leads to a kind of lazy going over to off the record. but i think, you know, used carefully and used in the right instance i think it's very valuable and i think it's very necessary. it's very necessary to journalism of all different kinds. so i don't want to dismiss it and say just because i got all these hundreds of people on the record that you should never use it. i wouldn't be so arrogant as to say that. >> how useful was it, or not, to sit down and interview obama? >> you know, you never say no to the head of state interview. you never say no to the interview with the candidate. but you have to know what the limitations are. you used the word "mythmaking." i don't think obama and the white house is engaged in mythmaking, but he's engaged in putting himself across, and i have to say i learned a great deal more about obama, and you get out of the book, out of "the
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bridge" a great deal more about obama that comes from other voices, from other lenses, from other places. >> david, you -- >> but i say it is valuable to spend, you know, 45 minutes or an hour in the oval office. >> oh, sure. you write that during the campaign, which is sort of where your book ends, that obama received generally adoring press coverage. and you had a couple examples i hadn't seen. meredith vieira when she was on "the view" said he would be a huge force in this country for the better and barbara walters compared him at one point to nelson mandela. what came over the press in 2007 and 2008 when it came to barack obama? >> well, first of all, he was new. we hadn't been over this story 700 times. and let's face it, barack obama was a part of a narrative of the most painful and prolonged history that we have in our country, which is the epic story and extremely painful story of race in america. and the business of him being a serious candidate for the presidency, not just a symbolic
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run, not one that's doomed to failure but one that could quite possibly reach the end and be elected president, i think we were all taken up with that, and i think legitimately so. i think the notion of an african-american running successfully for president -- >> legitimately so except that you have another candidate for president and a lot of people concluded, fairly or unfairly, that the media or parts of the media were in the tank for the democratic continuandidate. >> well, i'm only responsible for the "new yorker" and myself, and i thought we were fire hillary clinton and fair all around. were we taken up with the extra story of race? absolutely. and i think we should have been. >> a couple months ago "the new yorker" ran a cover cartoon by barry blit of barack obama walking on water but then starting to slip into the water. and apparently, david axelrod's office called you about that? what happened? >> well, they wanted a signed version of the cover. and you know there, were other covers maybe they didn't like as well. but i think they got over it.
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in fact, they got over it a lot faster than some other people. >> what did axelrod's office tell you about obama's personal reaction? >> i think axelrod and obama were laughing hysterically over this cover. and the fact to their credit, within a matter of weeks that they reversed the really sinking trend that they were experiencing and they passed health care. and the white house certainly reversed its downward trend pretty quickly after that cover. i'm not saying the cover was anywhere near responsible for it. >> it's a good thing you didn't have him sinking all the way into the water after scott brown's victory. let's talk a little about "the new yorker." this is, as you know, a very tough time for the magazine business. "newsweek" is -- >> i've heard that. >> yes, you have. your company conned navt has had some cutbacks, close td some cutbacks, close t a couple titles. "the new yorker" hasn't seemed to be affected all that much. how have you insulated your magazine from the trends and -- >> we're not insulated from
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trends, but certainly advertising in general has been much harder to come by and the recession was very tough. i think we're coming out of it now. i think "new yorker" is fortunate in that we have something that people want, a model for depth and penetration and journalism and as well as literary work that people want. there's no question that this genre of magazine is wanted by our readers. we have a renewal rate of 85% in an industry where if you have half that you're pretty successful. the tough thing is advertising. but that i think is starting to see a return. the second part of it is technological. people reading things in different ways, whether it's on a kindle or ipad and online and all the rest. and we have to adapt to that and work with that and be good on that in ways that my predecessors didn't have to think about. so the editor's job is now more -- it's more varied. it's just not concentrated on that one issue that very week.
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>> to the extent that you can run 5,000 words or 8,000 words on some -- >> or 25,000 words, as janet malcolm did the other week. >> all right. on a topic where the writer spends weeks, months, and really -- why don't we see more of that from other magazines? is there something unique about the "new yorker" franchise? very few publications even attempt that. >> well, it's expensive, for one thing. to have somebody working on one piece, as you know, on an investigative piece for six months, for a year is very expensive. you just add up all the expense that's go into it, whether it's the salary and expenses incurred in terms of travel. it's very expensive. and you have to invest in it. and you also have to know that sometimes those stories will lead to nothing. you can have an investigative reporter on something for six months and it becomes a dry well. >> and recognizing that it's a dry well i think is one of the underrated judgments that journalists have to make so you don't just print something because you spent so much time on it. i've got half a minute. >> absolutely. >> everybody wants to know the answer to this question. do you really pick all the
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cartoons? >> i do. i work with bob mankoff the cartoon editor and we sit there on wednesday afternoon and pick them. it's the best hour of my week. >> and does it have to meet some sort of remnick standard of humor? >> yeah, they have to be funny. >> if you think they're funny i guess that means the cartoonists get to appear in the pages of "the new yorker." david remnick, thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. after the break rahm emanuel not usually working the sunday circuit. he's out there today. we'll take a look at all the programs with candy crowley, next. down the hill? man: all right.
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rahm emanuel's not usually on the sunday circuit but he sat down this weekend with abc's jake tapper, and candy crowley, what kind of news did the chief of staff make? >> well, let's see. we've got the gulf disaster. we have two wars going on. we have a bid for energy policy. but we also had joe barton. joe barton being the republican congressman who apologized to bp for the white house being so terrible to him and then came back and apologized that he had apologized -- >> and i bet rahm couldn't resist. >> and he couldn't because the fact of the matter is democrats want to make this far larger than one republican and republicans are trying to push away. take a listen. >> you can say it's a political gift for us. and it is. but it's dangerous for the
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american people. because while the ranking republican who would have oversight into the energy industry and if the republicans who were the majority would have actually the gavel and the chairmanship, that's not a political gaffe. those were prepared remarks. that is a philosophy. that is an approach to what they see. they see the aggrieved party here is bp, not not the fisherm >> couldn't be more wrong. couldn't be more wrong. the statement that representative barton made was wrong, absolutely wrong. he has since apologized for it. >> i couldn't disagree with joe barton more. bp doesn't need an apology, they need to apologize to us and they certainly need to cover all of the costs of the cleanup and the economic damages as well, and they're going -- they're going to. >> it looks like joe, the plumber, of the last election has now been replaced by joe barton. >> the sound of political distancing going on. afghanistan another big topic this morning and the secretary of defense was out. >> wyes, he was out.
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in part what he did was try to push back with all of these stories. i'm sure you've seen coming out about how awful things are now in afghanistan, that even as we ratchet up the number of troops, that the violence is getting more. and we heard a little bit of that from a couple of senators i talked to earlier this morning. >> right now it's estimated that 40% of the territory is either contested or contlled by the taliban. that's a difficult situation. >> i think the president is going to have to redefine the plan, and when the proper time comes for that, he'll have to make a decision. >> what i'm saying is people are losing context. this policy, this strategy has been in place and working for only about four or five months. we have yet to put yet a third of the surge forces into afghanistan. the president has said we'll wait until december to evaluate how we're doing, so i think there's a rush to judgment, frankly, that loses sight of the
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fact we are still in the middle of getting all of the right components into place and giving us a little time to have this work. >> well, will the somewhat overshadowed afghan waur starting to get more media attention, with rising casualties and some democrats uncomfortable with it? >> yes, because what we have upcoming is votes on authorizing some funds to the war and that always kicks up some debate. particularly this time from the left i think it will be interesting to see how much more opposition to the war has gathered over the time since the last time we had a funding bill. >> candy crowley, thanks for stopping by. still to come, steve doocy, keith and lance armstrong are all part of this week's media mistakes. get inside each. and see what you find. if perfection is what you pursue, this just might change your course. meet the new class of world class.
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time now for our new segment and media's missteps and blunders this past week. fox and friends offered a warm welcome to sharon angle the tea party favorite who won the republican nomination to take on senate majority leader harry reid in nevada. co-host steve doocy invoked a big political name, his fellow fox commentator. >> you've got the backing of two important entities. former governor, sarah palin, gave you a nod, endorsed you. >> that's wrong. palin never backed angle in the gop primary. and doocy tried to neutralize
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one of angle's most controversial political positions. >> perhaps it's misinformation or mischaracterization, but someone said that you are out to get rid of social security. that's not true, right? >> that's nonsense. i have always said that we need to make the lockbox a lockbox. put the money in there for our senior citizens. >> misinformation? perhaps he should have checked angle's website which recounts her long-standing position. free market alternatives, which offer retirement choices to employees and employers must be developed and offered to those still in their wage-earning years, as the social security system is transitioned out. younger workers, she says, must be encouraged to open personal accounts. a version of the george w. bush privatization plan that crashed and burned. but the fox folks seem more interested in congratulating the gop nominee. >> i'm sharon angle, an amazing campaign run so far and we'll continue to follow it. >> thank you so much for having me here this morning.
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this next one is easy. keith olbermann got a little carried away while whacking his favorite target, bill o'reilly. so much so that the msnbc host named himself one of the worst persons in the world. >> wednesday i reported that bill o. had dropped so far off the radar, off the radar o'reilly if you will that he signed on for a news max economic event at which they may sell their $1495 money matrix insider program in which to quote some of my words, he has been reduced, to pyramid schemes. >> then he heard from the newsmax lawyers. >> let me retract what i said about news max's product. it is not, repeat not, a pyramid scheme. >> he did proceed to denigrate the firm with other colorful language. you can get away with saying about anything about a company but pyramid schemes are illegal. most mainstream media outlets really blew it when faced with a stunning videotape with congressman bob etheridge.
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the guy went bonkers when approached by two young men with a video camera. >> we're just here for a project. >> tell me who you are. >> i'm just a student, sir? >> from? >> we're just students. that's all we are. >> i have a right to know who you are. >> all we are is students. >> who are you? who are you? >> please let go of my arm, sir. >> sir, who are you? >> sir, sir, please. >> who are you? >> etheridge has apologized and we still don't know whether the young men were politicalage tarots. and drew brightbarth was the first to put up the etheridge video which got a big ride on sean hannity's show. but it really doesn't matter. remember how the media went nuts over that tape of senator george allen using the word macaca. with this footage most news organizations have enabled their critics to charge once again that they have a double standard. finally the cover of

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